Taiwan President quits as ruling party chief after local election loss
Taiwan's President resigns as head of her DPP ruling party following a loss to the opposition in the local elections.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has stepped down as head of her ruling party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after it suffered defeat in Saturday's local elections, while the Beijing-friendly main opposition, Kuomintang (KMT), claimed victory.
"The election results were not as expected... I should shoulder all the responsibility and I resign as DPP chairwoman immediately," Tsai, who will remain Taiwan's President until 2024, told reporters at party headquarters as she quit, which she also did after the 2018's poor election results.
Voters turned out Saturday to cast ballots for mayors, magistrates, and various other posts in 22 cities and counties, while there was also a referendum on whether to lower the voting age from 20 to 18, which was rejected. According to Reuters, the elections are about domestic issues, such as crime and the Covid-19 pandemic, and those elected will not have a direct say on ties with China.
Tsai's DPP lost four mayoralties out of six, including the capital Taipei.
The President described the vote as "a chance to show international community Taiwan's persistence and resolve to defend freedom and democracy."
"But we don't have time to feel sad, we should get up after we fall down... there is no room for hesitation for Taiwan in the face of the current international situation and future challenges," Tsai said.
She also said she had rejected a resignation offer from Premier Su Tseng-chang, also a senior DPP member, revealing that she had asked him to remain in office to ensure that her policies would be properly implemented.
Tensions between Beijing and Taipei rose to their highest level in years in August when both sides staged huge military drills following a provocative visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. China views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day achieve reunification.
The opposition KMT, which has maintained closer ties with China when in power, pledged to "work hard to maintain peace in the region," as its chairman Eric Chu declared victory at a press conference.
"We will dedicate ourselves to the Taiwanese people selflessly, we will be selfless so the KMT can have a chance to win the (presidential) elections in 2024," said Chu.